If You’re Worried About Your Child’s Future

Sometimes it comes out of nowhere. Sometimes it’s a thought in the back of my mind. But when these words and worries come, they’re fierce and have the ability to hold me captive.

What about the safety of my child, Lord? Will he follow you all his life or turn away? Will he make the right choices and choose good friends? Will he be okay in this ever increasingly evil world?

Today, it doesn’t take much to become worried and concerned for our child’s safety and overall well-being: terrorist attacks, sickness, mass shootings, sexual abuse, bullying, internet dangers, suicide, pornography, ISIS, unhealthy friendships and the list goes on.

I have found my own heart questioning how my child will grow up in such a world – a culture  lacking in peace, love, and joy. A culture that has forgotten God and has instead made self and sin kings on the throne. I sometimes find myself doubting God’s plan and goodness through it all because it can be so overwhelming.

After watching the delightful and comical movie The Star with my husband and kids last week at our local theatre, I was touched and reminded by all the good that was still happening leading up to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Regardless of King Herod’s evil attempt to hunt down and murder baby Jesus soon to be born, God’s sovereign plan prevailed each and every step of the journey.

The star led Joseph and Mary to the exact place where Jesus was meant to breathe his first breath in the lowly stable. Even in the midst of the chaos and evil in their present day, light had still come to pierce the darkness and bring peace. Man’s feeble attempts to destroy that plan were shaken and overcome. And one day, that shepherd King would sacrifice his life on the cross, providing salvation and rescue for each and every one of us.

Still for today, God’s plans will not be hindered.

When it comes to our own children and our natural concerns for their future, we can trust that God knows what he is doing. He brings light into the darkest situations and provides hope, healing, and restoration. That is who he is and that is what he does. Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In the Christian life we’re not promised a life of ease void of suffering contrary to some popular theology. In fact, we’re told that in this life we will face hardship, affliction,, and persecution. But we’re promised that God will be with us and will never forsake us. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6)

He has plans to give us hope and a blessed, abundant future. We must remember this for our children too. Ultimately, they are God’s and he knows their future before we do. He goes before us. And he will be there before our feet arrive.

Our children will face trials and even darkness, but we have to remember that the light is still among us just as it was that night in Bethlehem. When you’re looking out at the world and the darkness is frightening, look up to Jesus. His light has led you and you can have confidence that it will lead your children too.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

 
* This article first appeared on The Courage. 

 

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

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Why You Should Find Time to do Absolutely Nothing This Christmas

A few days ago, I came home and collapsed on our brown leather couch. I just sat there– didn’t even stare at my phone for the latest news, cute photos of friends’ kids, or even check our bank account. I just rested my mind and body. Prior to that day, I organized a cookie exchange and fellowship for the women in our church, attended a “muffins with mom” at my daughter’s preschool, met several writing deadlines, labeled and addressed Christmas cards, and helped my husband with several work projects. Not to mention being up at night with our kids wetting their beds from the hot chocolate they drank at our town’s parade. Needless to say, I was spent.

That sacred time on the couch being absolutely useless gave me time to think and reflect on life and what was going on around me. I began to actually hear from the Lord and to understand what my soul was craving. It didn’t need the peppermint chocolate Hershey’s kisses in the mason jar next to me or the better-get-it-now Amazon deal, but my heart needed sweet time with Jesus in prayer and His word. My soul was craving what we all have inside us- a hole that can only be filled by God alone. No matter how much we try to satisfy it with what the world or our flesh has to offer, we’ll still be left wanting more. He is the only path to true, lasting, infinite peace and joy.

Honestly, I want to do…

… Continue Reading the rest of this post over on Kirk Cameron’s website TheCourage

If Worry & Anxiety is Choking the Life Out of You …

We were traveling back from visiting my husband’s brother and his family in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and had about 2 hours left on our trip. We stopped at Sam’s Club to stock up on groceries and other items that we don’t have in our small town. I had my four kids with me while Jeremiah was taking care of something at the guest services desk and as I was pushing the shopping cart, anxiety and panic came over me. My three and four-year-old were running ahead and refusing to listen.

From the music blaring through the speakers, the busy shoppers, and stimulation in front of me, I broke down. I went over to the counter where Jeremiah was and left the kids and the big cart at his feet. I darted for the tire aisle so I could hide myself behind all that black rubber and cry. The anxiety and fear was so intense within me that I felt hopeless.

Eventually, my gracious husband took all the kids and did the shopping while I got myself together and cooled off in the car. I was on overload, exhausted from traveling, and unable to deal with the demands in front of me. He didn’t quite know what to think or do with me. I didn’t either.

If you’ve ever been in a place similar to mine, you know that trusting God in the smallest details of your life can be hard especially if anxiety is a daily battle raging in your heart and mind. I often wonder why he tells us so much in Scripture, “Do not fear, Don’t be afraid, Fear not.” 365 times! And how in Matthew, Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more of value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matt. 6:26-27)

That day I’d failed to trust that God could in fact get me through that store with all my kids in tow. I feared them getting lost, stolen, and just the sense of losing complete control (something I love to have). I was fearing everything that day. I was choosing not to abide in Jesus for the help he could provide. I failed to realize that he cares for me as a mom of young children, too. Honestly, I didn’t believe that he saw me that day.

God feeds and cares for the birds of the air. He’s watching over them and I am more valuable? He says that I am. If we are more precious to him than the birds, than how much more does he care about our daily lives? He desires that we trust in his provision for each day. Each hour. Each minute. When we know and believe that he is watching out for our best, loves us infinitely, and longs to provide for us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, worry and anxiety slowly begin to take the back seat. Through a process, we begin trusting God at his Word and that he will do what he says.

Like the birds of the air, we too, are called to live in freedom and not in bondage to our fears and anxieties. But this can’t be done in our own strength. We must be fully dependent on the Lord for help. Recognizing our tendency towards anxiety is the first step– call it exactly what it is. Asking God for help and believing that he will is the next step.

May we be women who cry out more often: “God, help me!”

May we cry out in humility, dependance, and faith that He will answer our need for peace, calm, and hope in our hearts no matter what challenge we’re facing– great or small.

I still struggle with going inside public places with all my kids. I rarely brave big stores with the four. But they are growing older, listening better, and getting easier to juggle when we have to go out. I’m learning to give my anxiety to the Lord. I’m learning that worry robs me of his peace and joy, and more than anything I desire to have a life that is abundant, trusting in his goodness because that is what he wants for me.

I want to live in freedom like the birds do. I know I will fall, but I am striving for His strength working through me. Will you join me?

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. Read more from her book, Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

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5 Words That Could Mean Life or Death to Your Marriage

If you’ve followed my blog for a length of time, you may remember this article I wrote. It ended up going viral in December 2013. Since it’s been almost four years and I have new readers, I wanted to repost it. I pray the Lord will use it to encourage and strengthen your marriage!

A few weeks ago, my friend Charity wrote on Facebook that a photo of her friend’s grandparents had made The Huffington Post. I clicked on the link and saw the breathtaking image of this husband and wife. I was instantly caught up in the beauty and tragedy of it.

I imagined what was going through the wife’s mind as she held the fragile hand of her dying husband. I imagined the memories they shared together—the joys and challenges. I imagined the birth of their first child and raising a family in their home. I pictured his strength and her beauty at a young age.

From the expression on her face, I saw a woman who deeply loved her man. A woman who fulfilled her commitment and stood on her word to love him “Until death do us part.” I saw the ache in her soul that he was breathing his last breaths and soon, he would no longer be by her side as her protector, provider, soul-mate, comforter, delight, lover and friend.

And my soul began to ache as I thought about my husband and the deep love we share for one another. It made me think of the vows I promised him on a wintry December day in Virginia amongst all our family and friends eight years ago:

I, Samantha, take you, Jeremiah, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

I also thought about the ways I’d failed my husband over the years and how I still have many areas of growth in loving him the way God intends.

Begin with the End in Mind

The five words “Until death do us part” are spoken of at the wedding altar in regards to lasting commitment but the reality of death being the actual end of the marriage is rarely expounded on. After all, the wedding ceremony shouldn’t be depressing right?

But the truth is that in order for our marriages to have the life they need to survive the long haul, we have to begin with the end in mind. Death—no matter how much we try to escape it—is the end and we have made a promise to God, our spouse, and other witnesses to love our spouse until then.

It sounds so easy and simple, but to actually live that out is another story. That’s why so many marriages end in divorce. Contrary to popular ideals, marriage is not a bed of roses, but is a battlefield that demands a daily dying to self.

Because of our sinful, stubborn, selfish natures we inherited in the garden, we continue to bring that nasty nature into our marriages—into all our relationships in fact. The manner in which we relate to our spouses and handle conflict is often broken. Ask anyone who’s been married for a little while and they’ll tell you just how much the molehills become mountains. Often they come out of nowhere and seem impossible to climb.

When we don’t get our way, conflict arises. When our spouse forgets his wallet or keys and makes us late to an important event, we grow angry. When he isn’t fulfilling our needs and desires the way we’d like, we have a pity party. When he doesn’t help out around the house enough, we grow bitter and nag.

When our spouse is short with us or raises his voice, we go on the defense and lash back. When he watches too much football, we tell him to get off the couch and get to work. And the list goes on. Conflict is a natural part of the marriage relationship and if it’s not happening internally at the moment, it’s guaranteed to hit you from the outside in just a matter of time.

Choose Humility & Forgiveness

The hope is that we can still have conflict in the midst of a healthy marriage defined by love. Through confessing our sins, repenting, and seeking forgiveness habitually, God refines those areas where we’re weak. Like iron sharpening iron, God uses our spouse to help change us. We put our hope and trust in God for help and guidance.

It’s having that humility before our spouse to say, “I know I’ve screwed up. But I love you and I’m committed to you every day of my life to make our marriage thrive.”

It’s realizing that, “Will you forgive me?” may just have to become a part of your daily vocabulary.

It’s choosing not to be isolated and asking trusted friends or family to encourage and help you get back on the road to loving and serving one another again.

It’s understanding that even if your spouse is driving you crazy and you want so badly for him to change that you may have to look in the mirror first to see where you need changing. Then you can dig your knees into the ground and pray for him.

It’s remembering that the very act of touching your husband’s hands, sexual intimacy, bearing children, laughing, working, playing, and eating meals together is all an act of grace that should instill gratitude in your heart. All of those life-giving moments are gifts that are not guaranteed or promised forever.

Being able to call him husband is a gift in and of itself.

Fight the Battle Against Sin

Above that beautiful image of the elderly couple, I read that the grandson wrote that they’d been together for 68 years and still kissed 15 times before bed every night.

As the wife sat next to her husband’s death bed, I’m guessing she wasn’t thinking about the times they fought or let each other down, but only the good, sweet, joyful, holy, precious, sacred times God had given them as husband and wife on this earth. There’s no doubt there was gratefulness and a deep sadness in her heart that it was ending.

Life is a vapor, as we know from Solomon in Ecclesiastes, and no matter how much we try to deny it, death is waiting for us and our spouse in the end. So the fight against sin in our marriage is worth it because one day, if we know and belong to Christ, He is going to make all our brokenness whole again and we will be made perfect as He is.

And the words “Until death do us part” don’t have to be brushed over, denied, or forgotten, but can inspire us toward a greater, selfless love for our spouse and ultimately for God.

Blessings to you,

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.

 

 

 

 

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Appreciating Your Husband for Who He is

A few years ago, my husband found a killer deal for a nice bed frame off Craigslist that he wanted to get for us. We’d been married 9.5 years and had never experienced the thrills of a king-sized bed. The problem was that it was nap time for our kids and we had to drive his chevy pick up truck in order to haul the frame and mattresses and comforter and so on. Not to mention the air conditioner on his truck was out, and the trip was not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump.

“I don’t know about this trip,” I told Jeremiah who thrives on spontaneity. “We’ve got to haul a lot of stuff and our four needy kids.”

“It will be fine,” he responded. “They can sleep on the way.”

It will be fine. Those four famous last words.

I started to whine about what could go wrong and how miserable the trip would probably be. But I decided to do it anyway. We had a flexible schedule that day.

Well the 2.5 hour trip to Denver turned into 3 hours with potty breaks, gas, and hungry bellies. We ran into bumper to bumper traffic, got cussed out by a crazy driver, and the kids were unhappy the entire time. We had to make too many stops that I didn’t care for and by the end of the day I was spent, vowing I would never do that again. It tested my patience and I was not a happy wife or momma. At all.

On our way home, Jeremiah agreed that I should have stayed home with the kids. “But I always like doing things together as a family,” he said.

I rolled my eyes and told him how some things are just not worth it. But after he assembled the bed together and we plopped our exhausted bodies onto our new bed and mattress, I was thankful we labored for it all. And I always appreciate how he loves being with all of us.

Admiring, Affirming, Appreciating

I’m guessing you’ve had an experience like mine where your husband’s idea seemed crazy and you sensed that strain and stress might be coming your way. But you followed his lead because you knew that’s what he desired.

The feelings and emotions are often different in our dating days. We often don’t second guess. We can’t imagine not going along with our lover’s plans or that things might not be “easy.” But in marriage, we eventually see how hard it can be to follow our man. To let alone love him in the way he understands.

When we talk about “loving” our husband what we really mean is how well are we admiring, affirming, and appreciating him? How well are we coming alongside him as his help-meet? That is what love looks to a man. In the wonderful book Creative Counterpart, author Linda Dillow says,

Learning to accept your husband’s feelings, tastes, and attitudes can go a long way… Does it matter whether acorn squash is good for him if he doesn’t like it? Accept his tastes. He doesn’t need a dietician or a substitute mother. Maybe he gets a kick out of football, and you feel the sport is stupid. Voice that opinion once or twice, and what will you communicate? That you feel you married a stupid man. How willing do you think he’ll be to express his likes and dislikes if he is called stupid when he does?

I can relate to Dillow’s football and food comment. I definitely have my opinions and I don’t always hold my tongue or communicate in the nicest manner, but over time in our marriage, I have been challenged to begin dwelling on the characteristics that I love about my husband: his intelligence, skillfulness, leadership ability, sexual capacity, courage, financial expertise, protection, prudence, and more. When I draw on what I appreciate the most about him, it helps me admire and respect him. And then eventually it turns into praise and affirmation which is what he craves to hear.

Knowing Your Man

To love your husband well you also need to know him. What makes him tick? What does he hate? What does he love? You might consider these questions.

  • What is the happiest thing that has ever happened to your husband?
  • What has been the hardest experience of his life?
  • What are his secret ambitions, his goals for life?
  • What are his deep fears?
  • What about you does he appreciate the most?
  • What traits of you would he like to see changed?
  • What man or men does he most admire?

(Creative Counterpart, page. 109)

You might write the answers down on paper and ask your husband if you were on target. No worries if you don’t get the answers right! It is never too late to learn something you didn’t know before. You might have him answer these questions about you. Jeremiah and I did this together several years ago and it was fun to exchange answers and see who got the most right.

Complete – Don’t Compare

The man God gave you is different than the man God gave me. Your husband is uniquely gifted in his role just as you are uniquely qualified to complete and compliment who he is. There is nothing more destructive than comparing our man to other men. Thoughts like, I wish he were more like ________ . Why doesn’t my husband do _________?  No perfect husband exists. Each has his own faults and limitations. Each has his own talent and unique abilities.

Focus your heart and mind on being grateful for the husband God has given you. Start to appreciate the qualities and interests that you don’t understand in him or can’t relate to. When you’re interested in what he is passionate about, it communicates that you care for him. When you admire and appreciate him through your attitude and actions, it communicates, “I love you. I respect you.”

I still fail at times to be the wife I know I should be. I can be pretty spicy and strong-willed. It is definitely a falling forward process of sanctification and dying to self. But I am growing, learning, and I know one thing is sure: I want my husband to know that I am for him.

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This article first appeared on FortheFamily.org as “Loving the Man God Gave You”

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mama to 4. She is the author of the new devotional for moms: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.

 

 

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3 Ways to Waste Your Time Wisely in 2017


My friend and neighbor Jill invited me over for coffee a few days ago and we got on the topic of time and how it goes by so quickly.

“How is it already 2017?” she asked. “You’ve been here two years in June.”

She’s always good at remembering dates. I nodded my head and agreed that our years spent in our new town have flown by so fast. I shared how the year I graduated high school (2000), everyone was talking about 2020 and the end of the world. We aren’t too far from that now!

It seems like as soon as Christmas arrives, stores are stocking their shelves with Valentine goodies before we even have time to take down our lights and trees. The older I get, the more I realize just how fragile time is. There is only so much time in the day and scripture tells us that our days are numbered. We don’t get to choose when God calls us home and we breathe our final breaths on this earth. One thing that is certainly sobering is that time moves on whether we like it or not.

So, how can we begin 2017 by making the most of our delicate days?

1.) Waste your time wisely by being a “Hands Free Mama.”

Currently, there’s no greater time waster for me than my phone. Ugh. I love it and I hate it. Being a creative communicator, I love connecting with friends and sharing words on social media. I love knowing what others are doing and I love photography so I could spend all day on Instagram. But it’s also something I get easily addicted to. I’m cracking down on the minutes I spend on my phone doing those things so that I can say “yes” to better things (like writing an article or blog post or… maybe even cleaning my bathroom!).

The truth is that it’s up to us what we choose to do with our time. There are always areas that we can better fill with our time. How can you be more productive online and offline? What ways can you practice moderation or even cutting something completely off that’s hindering you from moving forward? 

So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. – Ephesians 5:15-17

2.) Waste your time wisely by getting in the Word.  

Give God your whole year by getting to know him daily in his word. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, control, people pleasing, and more, the solution is Jesus. Let him calm your soul. Let him guide you through his word that sharpens, convicts, comforts, and encourages you right where you are in life.

When you’re tempted to go to Facebook first thing in the morning, open up the Bible app, First 5, your Bible or devotional. There are so many resources and apps out there to encourage you. Start your morning with Jesus and entrust your day to him. 9 times of out 10, you’ll enter your day with more peace and trust that he’s got it taken care of. Your ability to walk in the spirit, instead of the flesh becomes much easier.

How does God’s word encourage you where you’re at in life right now? What ways do you best connect with God?

Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town, stay there a year, conduct business, and make money. You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. – James 4:13-14

3.) Waste your time wisely by serving others. 

I love what prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon once said, “Serve God by doing common actions in a heavenly spirit, and then, if your daily calling only leaves you cracks and crevices of time, fill them up with holy service.”

If I spend too much time on myself, I get depressed, inwardly focused, and I isolate. When I go beyond my four corners to reach out to someone, I’m refueled and reminded that life is not all about me. God teaches me new things.

I recently made a visit to one of the elderly widows in our church and we had the best time talking together about her memories of the past. When I looked at the clock, it had already been an hour. It felt like 10 minutes. It was a true joy.

When you use your time for the good of other people, it brings glory to God and gives hope to those in need. Ironically, you find your purpose and calling in it, too.

In what ways can you serve others around you? Do you know of one person who needs a word of encouragement or helping hand?

  Behave wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of your time.

– Colossians 4:5

Wasting our time wisely requires a daily effort, just like choosing to lift those weights or press play on that workout video when you don’t feel like it. But in the end, there’s reward from the work and fruit is produced as you grow stronger and more disciplined. God is honored as you seek to truly treasure the time he has given you.

Blessings,

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a wife, mother, and writer in rural Colorado. She is the author of the new devotional for moms: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

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